Clifton Fadiman wrote an introduction to the Readers Club edition in which he called it a "mature, unpitying examination of what causes men to love violence and to transgress justice," and "the best novel of its year."
The United Nations General Assembly has adopted, in 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2014, non-binding resolutions calling for a global moratorium on executions, with a view to eventual abolition. Although most nations have abolished capital punishment, over 60% of the world's population live in countries where executions take place, such as China, India, the United States and Indonesia.
Capital punishment was at its modern peak in 1999, when there were 98 executions in the U.S.. During the mid-1990s, more than 300 people were sentenced to death in three consecutive years. The issuance of death sentences became increasingly rare, falling from 315 such penalties in 1996 to 31 in 2016, according to the Death Penalty Information Center, a Washington-based nonprofit that tracks capital punishment activity. Executions similarly plummeted, declining to 20 last year, the fewest in a quarter-century.
States are also moving away from capital punishment. There are 19 states without the death penalty, and seven of them abolished it or had courts strike down the practice since 2007; several other states have official moratoriums on executions or, lacking the ability to procure lethal injection drugs, are simply unable to carry them out.